A long-awaited bike and pedestrian pathway that connects the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and St. Peters Road in Charlottetown is finally going to happen.
The City of Charlottetown and the provincial government are teaming up to spend $845,000 on the project in what is being called the first phase of a multi-phase effort to connect Riverside Drive with the Confederation Trail at Mount Edward Road.
This all dates back to 2012 when the city released plans for a regional active transportation plan for the greater capital area.
“We’re glad to announce that the project will be going ahead this year,’’ said Coun. Terry Bernard, chairman of the city’s finance committee, noting that the city’s share is included in the recently unveiled capital budget.
Bernard said the dedicated path will begin at the intersection of Riverside Drive and Murchison Lane (entrance to the hospital), wind along the bottom of the berm that rounds the south side of the highway all the way up to St. Peters Road. It amounts to 2.3 kilometres.
“And when the provincial government did the roundabout on St. Peters Road they already paved an active transportation corridor from the roundabout up to St. Peters Road so this will connect to that,’’ Bernard said on Tuesday.
That happens this year. The next phase will stretch from the roundabout on St. Peters Road, down Norwood Road to Route 1 and then up to Brackley Point road. Phase three will take it from that point down to Mount Edward Road and connect to the Confederation Trail.
The path from the hospital to St. Peters Road also continues an active transportation corridor that begins at Wright’s Creek, goes down the length of Acadian Drive, through the woods leading to the hospital and out to the intersection at Riverside Drive and Murchison Lane.
The project fulfils a bit of a childhood dream for Charlottetown-Hillsborough Park MLA Natalie Jameson.
“I have been using the trails surrounding Hillsborough Park since I was young,’’ Jameson said. “My father was the lead on building the trail that runs along Wright’s Creek. He was working with the city in the summer and I remember being a child biking to meet him on his lunch break and seeing the progress unfold on that trail. I’ve walked these trails hundreds if not thousands of times and have a fond appreciation for them.’’
"I think it’s a terrific opportunity to have this available to me in the winter."
It’s also welcome news to people who use the existing trail on Acadian Drive.
“I think it’s a terrific opportunity to have this available to me in the winter,’’ said Stuart Matheson of Stratford, who was out walking his nine-month-old golden retriever, Benson, on Tuesday. “It’s so easy to get a place to park (in this area) and go for a walk and be active in winter because it’s what I like to do. (Benson) really quite likes the trails.’’
Jameson said that’s what this ultimately comes down to.
“Anything we can do to encourage people to bike and to walk and to be outdoors is going to only create positive outcomes in terms of our mental and physical health,’’ she said.
Bernard added that it also allows people to be active and stay safely off the busy bypass highway.
The following are some facts about the newly-announced bike and pedestrian pathway in Charlottetown:
- Begins at the intersection of Riverside Drive and Murchison Lane (entrance to Queen Elizabeth Hospital).
- Continues existing network of paved trails that goes behind the hospital all the way to Wright’s Creek.
- This is the first phase of a multi-phase project that will eventually lead the dedicated pathway to the Confederation Trail at Mount Edward Road.
- Total cost of this phase is $850,000, which is being cost-shared by the city and province.